Synthetic triterpenoids are multitarget compounds exhibiting promise as preventative and therapeutic agents for cancer. Their proposed mechanism of action is by forming Michael adducts with reactive nucleophilic groups on target proteins. Our previous work demonstrates that the 2-cyano-3,12-dioxooleana-1,9- dien-28-oic acid (CDDO) and its derivatives promote B-lymphoid cell apoptosis through a mitochondria-mediated pathway linked to mitochondrial protein aggregation.As one function of the Lon protease is to eliminate abnormal mitochondrial proteins, we hypothesized that CDDO-induced protein aggregation and lymphoma apoptosis occur by inactivating this enzyme. Here, we show that CDDO and its derivatives directly and selectively inhibit Lon. CDDO blocks Lon-mediated proteolysis in biochemical and cellular assays, but does not inhibit the 20S proteasome. Furthermore, a biotinylated-CDDO conjugate modifies mitochondrial Lon. A striking common phenotype of CDDO-treated lymphoma cells and Lon-knockdown cells is the accumulation of electron-dense aggregates within mitochondria. We also show that Lon protein levels are substantially elevated in malignant lymphoma cells, compared with resting or activated B cells. Finally, we demonstrate that Lon knockdown leads to lymphoma cell death. Together, these findings suggest that Lon inhibition plays a contributory role in CDDO-induced lymphoma cell death, and support the concept that mitochondrial Lon is a novel anticancer drug target.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Cell Biology